By Mark Hallum
City Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) is urging the MTA to restore Q75 bus service between Bayside and Jamaica after the line was axed in 2010 due to budget cuts to the state agency.
Grodenchik and other elected officials who joined him at a late September news conference at 230th Street and 69th Avenue in Oakland Gardens claimed many constituents in the area no longer have bus service near their homes, nor do they have a way to connect with other lines and often have to make two connections just to reach a subway station.
“In my district, we have no subway service and rely on MTA buses to get around,” Grodenchik said. “The restoration of the Q75 bus line would greatly improve the quality of life for seniors, students and residents across eastern Queens. It’s the MTA’s duty to prioritize restoration in areas where bus service is so critical. More transit options for the people of eastern Queens need to be funded to ensure our borough continues to progress. ”
State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Flushing) pointed out the issues experienced by straphangers across the city, but especially in northeast Queens where train service is lacking and many depend on buses.
“The MTA needs to improve service and accountability across the system, and it must focus and develop a plan for better bus service. In the many Queens neighborhoods without subway access, restoring Q75 bus service is integral to properly serving the community — from students to seniors who rely on mass transit in their daily lives,” Rozic said.
Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) said bus service is especially vital in transit deserts, such as Queens, and there should be a special emphasis on serving communities in need of alternatives to trains, such as buses.
“The people of Queens have been dealing with less than ideal bus service since at least 2010, when the MTA cut service in Queens as part of $93 million in cuts to city bus and subway service,” Weprin said. “The MTA has a responsibility to ensure that all residents in New York City have access to a public transportation option, especially those who live in transit deserts. Each of these riders deserves to have a transit system that works for them, and I am proud to join my colleagues today as we call for the restoration of Q75 bus service.”
With the city’s population on the rise, Stephanie Burgos-Veras, community organizer at the Riders Alliance, said buses are a versatile form of public transit for communities outside the scope of the subway and new routes are needed alongside restoration of the old.
“Bus service is a lifeline for communities far from the subway, and for elderly and disabled New Yorkers who are poorly served by other kinds of transit,” Burgos-Veras said. “As the city continues to grow, the MTA should look at the existing bus network and take opportunities to restore lost service and update routes to meet people’s needs today.”
Manhattan Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights) spoke at the news conference as the chairman of the Council Transportation Committee.
“Our transportation system is the lifeblood of the city and stimulates our economy,” Rodriguez said. “The Q75 bus connected hardworking middle class residents to work, recreation, healthcare, and commerce. Losing this route is not good for New Yorkers, so it’s not good for New York. I’m committed to continue working with my colleagues in Queens to tackle this and other transportation deserts in the borough.”
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall